minnesota transracial film festival

It appears that filmmaking on transracial adoption is on the rise and continues to gain increasing attention within the adoption community. Three feature films caught my attention this year:  Finding Seoul (by filmmaker/adoptee, John Sanvidge, now available on DVD), Somewhere Between (by director/producer, Linda Goldstein Knowlton) and Going Home (by director/adoptee, Jason Hoffman). Another film/documentary, Kinship of Geographies, by Korean filmmaker, Deann Borshay Liem, hit the social media platform recently when a kickstarter campaign to raise money for the film was launched and then successfully funded. Liem is also Producer, Director, and Writer for the Emmy Award-nominated documentary, First Person Plural (Sundance, 2000) and the award-winning film, In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee (PBS, 2010). This past June, a special showing of Finding Seoul was scheduled in Scottsdale, AZ. Unfortunately, I was out of town and missed it, but I had a friend with an adopted son from Korea who attended. I recently requested a Phoenix showing of Somewhere Between through Tugg— keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that it’ll make it here.

In November, The Minnesota Transracial Film Festival, co-hosted by AdopSource, AK Connection and Land of Gazillion Adoptees, will exhibit several feature films and shorts on transracial adoption. Hosted by AdopSource, MNTRFF made its debut on November 14, 2009 in the Twin Cities. With one of the largest transracial and transcultural adopted communities located in Minnesota, the festival was started in order to showcase both the community and its rich diversity, as well as some of the emerging voices telling their point of view through film, words, and music. MNTRFF will host the physical portion of the festival beginning November 10th at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus. The following Monday-Friday (November 12th-16th), the festival will continue online via Watch Adoptee Films, which will stream (worldwide) some of the films from the physical portion of the festival and a handful of others. Here’s what’s on the program so far:  Invisible Red Thread, Finding Seoul, Going Home, Seoul Searching (short), Struggle for Identity (short- also available for purchase on DVD),  You Follow (teaser trailer), Geographies of Kinship (teaser). I would love to be there for the festival, but planned a trip to Orange Co., CA at the same time. I do plan to catch some of the festival online though when I get back in town.

I noticed that four of the films/shorts are by Korean filmmakers. Two others tell the stories of adoptees from China and India, and there is a film short specifically on the issue of identity featuring transracial adoptees of different ethnic/racial backgrounds. My hope is that one day, there will be a documentary on Taiwanese adult adoptees. In 2011, there were approximately 205 adoptions from Taiwan to the U.S. according to the U.S. Dept. of State. Although the percentage of adult Taiwanese adoptees may be smaller than that of Korean and Chinese adoptees, there are several of us out there. Over the past couple of years, a handful of Taiwanese adult adoptees have contacted me via my blog, which is fantastic. And I had the honor and privilege of getting in touch with another adult Taiwanese adoptee this summer after 40+ years. Carmen was the godchild of my adoptive parents, and I found her adoption paperwork recently amongst all of my adoption documents. Yes, it would be cool one day to see a documentary on Taiwanese adoptees. One can dream…

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